July 11, 2020

SillaJen stocks nosedive on Pexa-Vec woes

PUBLISHED : August 02, 2019 - 17:54

UPDATED : August 02, 2019 - 18:17

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SillaJen shares bottomed out on Aug. 2 on news that the global phase 3 clinical trials of its signature liver cancer treatment Pexa-Vec are likely to be suspended.

The biotech firm trading on South Korea’s tech-heavy bourse Kosdaq, took a 30 percent loss. As a result, the market cap fell to 2.2 trillion won ($1.8 billion), from 3.2 trillion won the previous day. SillaJen was the sixth-largest Kosdaq-listed firm by market cap, as of Aug. 2. 

The news came as the independent data monitoring committee recommended Pexa-Vec’s clinical trials be suspended, after conducting a futility analysis. The reason for the recommendation has yet to be disclosed. SillaJen said it plans to report DMC’s recommendation to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Busan-headquartered SillaJen made a disclosure of the result at 8:23 a.m., prior to the start of trading.

While the announcement cast a shadow on SillaJen’s plan to commercialize its first drug involving a cancer cell-killing virus, market watchers said investors should be overly concerned.

“The deterioration of investor sentiment toward the pharmaceutical and biotech industry seems inevitable due to recent negative issues,” Lee Tae-young, an analyst at KB Securities, wrote in a note to investors. “Regardless of the negative issues, the pharmaceutical and biotech industry is boosting research and development expenses across the board, which is leading to noteworthy technology transfer deals.”

By Son Ji-hyoung (

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